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Factbox: Europeans who joined Islamic State

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 09:22

The fate of foreigners who joined Islamic State has become an increasingly urgent issue as U.S.-backed fighters prepare to capture the militant group's last stronghold in eastern Syria. The Kurdish-led, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say they are holding 800 foreign fighters, with 700 of their wives and 1,500 of their children living separately in camps. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday European countries must do more to take back their citizens or they will be released.


Pakistan Vows Retaliation If India Launches Military Strikes

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 09:06

“Pakistan will not think of retaliation, Pakistan will retaliate,” Khan said in a televised speech on Tuesday. Tensions between the historic arch-rivals have been high since a militant car bombing, claimed by a Pakistani-based group Jaish-e-Mohammed, on Feb. 14 in Kashmir killed 40 members of India’s security forces -- the deadliest strike in the region in decades.


Pakistan says India using UN court for 'political theater'

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 07:21

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Pakistan accused India on Tuesday of sponsoring terrorism and of using the United Nations' highest court for "political theater" as it urged judges to dismiss an Indian case seeking to save an alleged spy from execution.


Mission Workshop Rhake VX Weatherproof Laptop Backpack review: The perfect bag for a rainy day

Macworld - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 07:00

The Rhake Weatherproof Laptop Backpack from Mission Workshop entered my life during one of the wettest weeks in months, so of course I subjected the 22-liter rolltop bag to a trial by flooding. I tossed in my expensive 15-inch MacBook Pro along with our iPad Pro and another MacBook. Beyond that, I stuffed it with my AirPods, my iPhone, my Bose QuietComfort 35s, a jacket, a book, and even a Satechi keyboard. (I was already impressed that it could hold all this junk.)

In this manner I braved a deluge for several blocks toward the train station, armed with nothing besides the Rhake and a trashy umbrella. Half a mile on, I was soaked. Water seeped into uncomfortable crevasses in my jeans. But when I unrolled the Rhake at home, I found everything inside as dry as a Steven Wright routine. So let’s get that out of the way: If you want a bag that lets MacBooks giggle at hurricanes—this is it, chief. The only catch is that sometimes its design interferes with its convenience.

To read this article in full, please click here

Farrakhan to Omar: Don’t apologize for Israel comments

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 06:31

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan defends Minnesota congresswoman.


The Two Venezuelas and Foreign Intervention

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 06:30

Today Venezuela is at an impasse, a term allegedly coined by Voltaire to refer to a situation devoid of exits. It has infinite inflation, four immobilized branches of government, two presidents, and the worst humanitarian crisis to hit the Americas in decades. There is sporadic violence on the streets and in improvised prisons hidden away from YouTube. What today resembles a civil war without weapons could easily escalate into bloodshed. Yet it is foreign powers and not domestic actors that will determine the country’s fate.The Bolivarian divide runs so deep that the republic now has two presidents: Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó. Maduro, elevated to power by the late Hugo Chavéz, insists that he has begun his second constitutional term, sworn in by the Supreme Court, backed by the courts and, crucially, the country’s armed forces. Guaidó is recognized by the National Assembly, the unicameral legislature that Chávez himself created when he wanted to do away with a Senate keen on opposing his accumulation of power. Hundreds of thousands of exiled Venezuelans, including former Chavista officers and representatives, support him, too.The international media have paid scant attention to Venezuela. With rare exceptions, the crisis has seemed far away, complex, and entirely domestic to the outside world. Yet that perception is misguided: Venezuela’s crisis is no longer a mere constitutional battle; it is a power struggle among international powers.When Guaidó invoked articles 233 and 333 of the Venezuelan constitution to declare himself president, he did so with plenty of support. The United States had already refused to recognize Maduro after last year’s presidential “election,” in which he was effectively the only candidate allowed to run. Same with the so-called Lima Group, a gathering of Latin American nations led by Brazil and Argentina. Such support allowed Guaidó to unify an opposition whose internal divisions had previously enabled Chávez and then Maduro to accumulate power. A few days later, the European Union joined the anti-Maduro forces, in a move ironically led by the socialist government of Spain, but not by Italy, where the populists of the Right (the Northern League) could not get the populists of the Left (the 5 Star Movement, old friends of Chavismo) to abandon Maduro.Recognizing a president, however, does not topple a government. The most damaging hits against Maduro were economic. The United States blocked PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-run oil giant and its only true source of funds, from accessing its refineries in the U.S. (Venezuelan oil has always been too heavy, leading the country’s oil industry to rely on American refineries.) The Trump administration also imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s primary debt issuance, as necessary for revolutionaries as it is for capitalists, as well as on the trading of existing securities. Guaidó will now control the country’s official accounts and will get to appoint a board for Venezuela’s crown jewel in the U.S.: the Citgo refinery.When it became clear that the petrodollars would stop flowing, defections from Maduro’s camp ticked up. And yet the regime did not fall. To outsiders, Maduro’s days in charge might appear numbered, but in Caracas he hangs on. That is because Chavismo’s traditional allies — Cuba, Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Syria — have stood by him. In particular, the support of Russia and China, for whom Venezuela remains a bulwark against the pro-market governments ascendant elsewhere on the continent, has proved crucial.Despite its natural wealth, Venezuela’s debts to China are far larger than is commonly understood. And in Russia, oligarchs close to the Kremlin have too much to lose if the Maduro regime falls apart. That is why RT is keen on broadcasting every single “historic” military exercise by Maduro’s generals. (As my colleague Daniel Lansberg has pointed out, Venezuela now has more generals than all of NATO.) Paradoxically, the socialist revolution that Chávez created is now sustained by the capitalist interests of its main international sponsors.This dynamic is far from unprecedented. Decades ago, when there were two Spains rather than two Venezuelas, the diplomatic support of Western democracies mattered very little on the ground. In 1936, a failed military coup against the legitimate Spanish republic kicked off the century’s paradigmatic civil war. Madrid quickly received the support of international actors, including France, the United States, Mexico, and even the Soviet Union. But the generals under Francisco Franco had sponsors willing to fight. Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy invested blood and treasure in Franco — and drove him to victory. His legitimacy was built on the battleground.Intervention matters. And so does the lack of it. When Rwanda’s ethnic conflicts escalated into an unspeakable genocide in 1994, U.N. troops stood by, eventually inspiring Samantha Power’s doctrine of moral intervention. When, later, Power was U.N. ambassador under President Obama, Obama refused to intervene in Syria even after the Assad regime mounted chemical-weapons attacks on its own citizens, thereby crossing the “red line” Obama had laid out. In both cases, the results were gruesome and the victims numerous.Ultimately only force can break an impasse. In Venezuela’s case, as in Spain’s before, legitimacy is not about constitutions but the balance of forces. Economic sanctions can debilitate a regime, but only those willing to use force can truly tilt the balance. As long as Venezuela’s traditional allies areeconomically and financially motivated to keep Chavistas in power, the current regime will endure, with or without Maduro. If Washington is not willing to intervene with force, then it must convince Moscow and Beijing that a political transition is in their interests. Guarantees for their investments are a good place to start. More important, Venezuela’s sorry destiny reminds us that in a world devoid of absolute hegemonies, there are worse things than American global leadership.


C by GE C-Start Smart Switch Motion Sensing+Dimmer review: GE stuffs this smart switch full of features

Macworld - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 06:00
But do motion sensing, light sensing, and dimmer features justify the hefty price tag?

Misleading indicators: Correlation is not causation

Macworld - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 06:00

Apple’s glory days are all behind it and the way you can tell is that the company is more efficient at selling iPhones than it used to be.

Wait, what?

Writing for The Motley Fool, Natalie Walters asks “Are We Past the Golden Era of iPhone Launches?” (Tip o’ the antlers to Mickey.)

Most likely, but not for the reasons you think. The “golden era” of iPhone launches Walters refers to was back when people lined up but actually bought fewer iPhones than they do now.

To read this article in full, please click here

Nicolas Maduro attacks Trump's 'almost Nazi-style' speech after US president calls on military to abandon Venezuela leader

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 05:55

Nicolas Maduro has accused Donald Trump of speaking in an “almost Nazi style” after he called on Venezuela‘s military to abandon its beleaguered president. On Monday, President Trump said the US stands behind opposition leader Juan Guaido and condemns Mr Maduro and his government’s socialist policies.


Kamala Harris faces scrutiny over Jussie Smollett ‘modern day lynching’ comment at 2020 campaign event

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 05:25

Senator Kamala Harris visited New Hampshire on Monday for the first time in her life, and quickly experienced the realities of being a presidential candidate: She faced questions from national reporters about her political ideology and her description of the alleged assault on actor Jussie Smollett as “an attempted modern day lynching,” followed by a town hall-style forum with a big crowd of more than 1,000 voters. Unlike most presidential hopefuls, who come to New Hampshire years before the primary, Ms Harris — who is from California and relatively new to the national political stage — waited until roughly a year before the primary to show up. Barack Obama, who had never been to New Hampshire before running for president, visited the state in December 2006, about 13 months before its 2008 primary.


The wackiest beauty looks from London Fashion Week

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 05:06

London Fashion Week has wrapped up for another season, leaving us with plenty of hair and makeup inspiration for Fall/Winter 2019. Wild hair and sumptuous colors were the underpinning themes of the beauty look at Vivienne Westwood, where the makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench came up with a series of astounding looks involving covering the models' faces with gooey-like pigment.


Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 04:17

Dutt said some people had posted and circulated her phone number on Twitter, enabling the harassment, which she said included threats of rape and images of genitalia being sent to her phone. Dutt tweeted some of the threats and images on Monday, and she included phone numbers and names of the men who allegedly threatened her, after which her account was suspended. "I would like to place on record my absolute horror and disgust at Twitter's encouragement of sexual abuse and gender inequality," said Dutt, a former managing editor at news channel NDTV and a regular columnist with the Washington Post.


Roger Stone deletes Instagram photo of judge presiding over his case ‘in crosshairs’

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 04:07

Days after a federal judge imposed a limited gag order on him, Trump confidant Roger Stone posted a photograph of that judge to his Instagram page and included her name, a close-up of her face and what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gun sight near her head. Mr Stone deleted the picture soon after, then reposted it without the crosshairs before deleting the second post. US district judge Amy Berman Jackson is presiding over Mr Stone's criminal trial in which he has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying about his efforts to gather information about hacked 2016 Democratic Party emails that were published by WikiLeaks.


Trump must be removed with 25th amendment because he is 'not well at all mentally', former White House ethics chief says

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 04:06

Donald Trump must be removed from office as he is “not well at all mentally”, a former White House ethics chief has said. Richard Painter, who served as George W Bush’s ethics lawyer between 2005 and 2007, told cable network Msnbc Mr Trump’s national emergency declaration over illegal immigration was “clearly illegal” and the product of the president’s state of mind.


India says suicide attack mastermind killed

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 04:04

India's army said Tuesday it had killed the mastermind of a major suicide bomb attack in Kashmir which it blamed on Pakistan, as calls grew for reprisals over the deaths of more than 40 paramilitaries and soldiers. Indian forces have staged operations since Thursday's attack while anti-Pakistan and anti-Kashmir sentiment has spread across the country, fuelled by social media including widely shared false news reports. Three militants from the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group, which claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, were killed in a gunbattle that lasted much of Monday, Lieutenant General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon told a press conference in Srinagar.


China's Silicon Valley Blueprint Has Plenty of Holes

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 02:13

Late Monday, the official Xinhua News Agency released details of the State Council's Greater Bay Area plan – a project to knit together Hong Kong and Macau with nine mainland cities into a global innovation hub to rival California’s Silicon Valley. Hong Kong residents struggling with high housing prices will have the opportunity to move across the border and work in state-owned companies while people moving the other way will gain access to the city’s education and health systems.


An 11-Year-Old Student Was Arrested in Florida After Refusing to Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance

Top Stories - Tue, 02/19/2019 - 02:03

The 11-year-old was charged with disruption and resisting arrest


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez taken to task by fellow progressives

Top Stories - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 23:55

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticizes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over her opposition to the Amazon deal.


New reaction to an alleged plot to use the 25th Amendment against President Trump

Top Stories - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 23:44

Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz, former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and national security attorney Bradley Moss join the debate.


Huawei founder says Huawei CFO arrest was politically motivated - BBC

Top Stories - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 22:24

"Firstly, I object to what the U.S. has done. This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable," Ren told the BBC in an interview. Canada arrested Meng on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States.


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